Really? The Associated Press can’t even get the guy’s name right? Well, I suppose that should be the first of many clues that the national media still isn’t paying a lot of attention to what goes on in Iowa City. A little further into the article and any true Hawk fan can see that this is simply a hodge-podge of word-of-mouth rumblings.
“The 21-year-old Clayborn, of St. Louis, was originally charged with assault causing bodily injury after he allegedly punched the driver on Jan. 19, 2009, when the cabbie honked at him.”
Right, the cabbie honked and the enraged Clayborn (or is it Clayton again?) just jumps out of the car and nails the guy. There was no engage of words, no usage of racial slurs by the cabbie and there was certainly no reason for Clayborn to hit the guy. Ok, I’ll play along for a minute. Let’s just say this is the case. What should happen to the guy? Well, the type of “assault” described in the story would probably be classified as assault casing actual bodily harm (I am just assuming that a punch from the Predator would cause some bodily harm to the little ol’ cab driver). This carries a MAXIMUM sentence of 5 years in prison. So send the punk off to prison!
Not so fast my friends. That sentence is rarely, if ever handed out and is pretty much reserved for repeat offenders. According to In Brief (a free legal information site – yeah, like we are going to pay for some legal speak), “if someone is being charged for the first time it is unlikely that they will go to prison with a fine the usual outcome.” Hmm, sounds a lot like what Clayborn did get. The big difference here is that the charge was actually dropped.
The Predator took a plea bargain and was never charged with assault of any kind, instead getting charged with disorderly conduct. That’s right folks, the same as your punk neighbor kid throwing that party last weekend. The sentence: $100 fine. If you read between the lines here, it seems to me like the whole incident was blown out of proportion. This was a win-win. The cabbie doesn’t look stupid for taking this to court because the headline is “Clayton (Clayborn) pleads guilty…”
Clayborn, on the other hand, doesn’t have to deal with the risks of going through the full trial process. The whole thing is behind him and there is no distraction for spring ball. The criticism on most of the message boards has been that there hasn’t been a punishment handed down by the coaching staff. In fact, the AP article on ESPN.com reads, “Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz did not discipline Clayborn after his arrest.” This is just a tad little misleading. It’s true, Ferentz did not punish Clayborn following his arrest, nor has he punished any of his players following their “arrest.” But all those kids in trouble for drinking were punished right away. Wrong. Those drinking tickets involved kids getting both arrested AND convicted. Ferentz has always stood by his players until they were convicted.
The question now becomes, “what will Ferentz do now that Clayborn is being convicted?” My guess is not much. I would bet there is a public statement denouncing the actions, followed by some in-house punishment. What, you wanna sit the kid out for disorderly conduct? There is no way of telling what really happened that night and disorderly conduct is certainly not a conviction worthy of diminishing Clayborn’s draft stock, nor is it worth the damage it could cause to Iowa’s recruiting. Ferentz will stand by Clayborn and ALL his players. I am sure the big guy will have a few extra sprints in spring ball, but I would hope his numbers aren’t affected because some arse of a cabbie went to a place NOBODY has the right to go (for those that need a picture, racial slurs just don’t fly in today’s world – except maybe in the deep south at a NASCAR event).
The moral of the story is this: athletes, don’t let some cab driver get you into this kind of a mess – they just aren’t worth it. Cab drivers, stay off our athletes – that’s two that have connected with your faces in the last 12 months. The citizens of Iowa City need to remember just how much of their public facilities and services are available because of not only The University of Iowa, but because of its drunken college kids getting arrested in the ped mall and it’s athletes performing on the field. Don’t try to take either of them away or you will be sadly disappointed with your town.